Denver Nuggets preseason preview

Denver Nuggets Nikola Jokic Jamal Murray Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Nuggets Nikola Jokic Jamal Murray Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

With the NBA season just around the corner, that also means the preseason is about to start. On October 5th, the NBA will have its first basketball game(outside of the Summer League) since the Denver Nuggets won the NBA Finals.

That said, the Denver Nuggets announced their preseason schedule last month. They have five games in total, with only one being at home. That’s understandable. Having many games in Denver probably wouldn’t be a good idea, especially considering the altitude. Having opponents start off their NBA season a mile above sea level might be a bit difficult, so only having one game at home for the Nuggets makes sense.

Looking at their schedule, they start off in Phoenix on October 10th. This game should be interesting, as it will be the Suns’ second preseason game, and will get to see how the newly formed trio of Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, and Kevin Durant can play together.

The Nuggets do have a bit of a rivalry with Phoenix, considering the Suns swept them in the 2021 NBA playoffs, while the Nuggets beat them in six games in the previous playoffs. There definitely will still be a bit of bad blood between them, and definitely will see more of the Suns come regular season time.

The second game of the Nuggets’ preseason is away against the Chicago Bulls. This game will be interesting, but should not be much of a contest. The Bulls did not make the playoffs last season and barely made the Play-In Tournament. Nikola Vucevic will have a hard time guarding Nikola Jokić, but Alex Caruso has the perimeter defense to be able to guard Jamal Murray.

The third game is against the Bulls again, but this time it is in Denver. This game would be the second game against Chicago, but as stated before, the Nuggets could be too much for the Bulls to handle offensively. Chicago does not have a lot of great defenders outside of Alex Caruso and Patrick Williams.

The fourth and fifth games will be away against the Los Angeles Clippers. Chances are, both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will not play a lot. Even though load management rules have been placed for star players such as Leonard and George. Sitting them out in preseason games wouldn’t be the end of the world, but both players probably won’t be handed out a ton of minutes in the preseason, given both of their ages and injury histories.

Now, for the preseason as a whole, a lot of the NBA’s best players probably won’t play a ton of minutes. For the most part, it is given to the younger players or the people on the roster who are not guaranteed a roster spot. For the Nuggets, their younger players, like Zeke Nnaji, Jalen Pickett, Julian Strawther, and Hunter Tyson will all be given a bigger amount of minutes than they usually would in the regular season to see if they are worth keeping around long-term.

For the start of the regular season, the Denver Nuggets face off against the Los Angeles Lakers during the NBA’s opening night. This one will also be an interesting matchup, as the Nuggets swept the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals not too long ago. Anthony Davis will have his hands full guarding Jokić, and we’ll see if the Nuggets and Lakers are primed to be title favorites early on.

The NBA’s preseason games do not really matter much in the grand scheme of things, but it still is interesting to see how the Denver Nuggets will play. Whether the Nuggets go 5-0 or go 0-5 or anywhere in between, Denver should still be title contenders.

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Even though it may seem like a while away, the NBA’s preseason is less than a month away, and then after that, the regular season is back underway.